High Peak 40 (more snot, less medals)

Last year I plodded around the
High Peak 40 towards the back of the field (as usual...). So I was a bit surprised when an envelope containing a medal and a slip of paper saying ‘2nd senior woman’ arrived in the post a few days later (the prize giving was long since done and dusted by the time I finished). Surely some mistake! There were loads of women in front of me, I thought. Better check the results and then send the medal back to the organisers so they can send it to it’s rightful owner. So I checked the results. And there were loads of women in front of me, 11 to be precise. However all but 1 of them were over 40 and hence classed as veterans (and in one case over 50 and a ‘super-veteran’). Therefore I was indeed the 2nd senior woman (out of 6, not 2!).

So on to 2010. As part of the
run-further series the HP40 was on my ‘to do’ list from the start of the year. The dodgy knee was starting to recover, but a pre-fresher’s-week cold arrived mid week. Since the peak district is on the door-step, I decided to stuff my rucksack with tissues, jog to the first check-point and see how I felt. The first 20 miles or so were in fact great fun. Starting even slower than usual meant I began catching people sooner than usual, and running along the ridge between Edale and Castleton past the tourists and walkers put a big grin on my face. 

My knees weren’t too happy with the desent into Castelton, but having sacrificed grip for cushioning in my shoe choice it was ‘ooh’ rather than ‘arrgh’. And then ‘arrgh’ as I slipped my way up damp, rocky Cave Dale (mantra: ‘down would be worse than up’). Across the exposed fields at the top it got chilly and I wished I had some gloves (last year in blazing sunshine I carried waterproof trousers, hat and gloves round...). Last year I struggled up Deep Dale 1 and the never ending, gently rising, road from hell, but didn’t get the fuss about Deep Dale 2 (a steep sided ravine that appears at the last moment in the middle of an innocuous looking field). This year Deep Dale 2 fought back and I slid most of the way down on all fours, non-vibram soles no match for slippery rocks.

The last couple of miles were a bit of a struggle, and the bloke who left the last check-point just before me left me for dead. But I managed a 10 minute mile ‘sprint finish’ to squeak in in just under 10 hours, 16 minutes slower than last year. In the knee/cold circumstances I’m reasonably happy with that. But with my Garmin giving a total distance of 41 miles, up until close to the end I’d been half hoping I might somehow manage to just beat last year’s time.